Constellation Joint Venture to Add Growing Premium California Wine Brand

FAIRPORT, N.Y., Oct 1, 2001 /PRNewswire/ -- Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE: STZ, STZ.B) announced today that Pacific Wine Partners LLC ("PWP"), a joint venture recently formed with BRL Hardy Ltd. (ASX: BRL), entered into a definitive agreement to acquire certain assets of Blackstone Winery, including the Blackstone brand and the Codera wine business in Sonoma County.

Richard Sands, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Constellation, said, "When we formed Pacific Wine Partners with BRL Hardy, it was with the intent of solidifying Constellation's commitment to offer one of the broadest, deepest wine portfolios in the world. With our unsurpassed distribution network, we will be able to bring one of the finest California Merlots to a greater number of consumers who seek wines that offer quality and value."

The purchase price for Blackstone and the related assets is approximately $140 million and will be financed equally by Constellation and BRL Hardy. Constellation intends to use its short-term borrowing facility to fund its portion of the transaction. The transaction and its related financing are expected to be slightly accretive to Constellation's earnings per share for the fiscal year ending February 28, 2002. The transaction is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions and is expected to close by mid October 2001.

Annual sales of Blackstone are more than 500,000 cases and grew 45 percent for the six months ended June 30, 2001. For the business to be acquired, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and non-recurring items ("EBITDA") for the latest twelve months ended June 30, 2001, were approximately $12.5 million.

About Constellation

Constellation Brands, Inc. is a leader in the production and marketing of beverage alcohol brands in North America and the United Kingdom and is a leading independent drinks wholesaler in the United Kingdom. As the second largest supplier of wine, the second largest importer of beer and the fourth largest supplier of distilled spirits, Constellation is the largest single-source supplier of these products in the United States. In the United Kingdom, Constellation is a leading marketer of wine and the second largest producer and marketer of cider. With its broad product portfolio, Constellation believes it is distinctly positioned to satisfy an array of consumer preferences across all beverage alcohol categories. Leading brands in Constellation's portfolio include: Franciscan Oakville Estate, Simi, Estancia, Ravenswood, Corona Extra, Modelo Especial, St. Pauli Girl, Almaden, Arbor Mist, Talus, Vendange, Alice White, Black Velvet, Fleischmann's, Schenley, Ten High, Stowells of Chelsea, Blackthorn and K.

Forward-Looking Statements

The Company makes forward-looking statements from time to time and desires to take advantage of the "safe harbor" which is afforded such statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 when they are accompanied by meaningful cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.

The statements set forth in this press release, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Any projections of future results of operations should not be construed in any manner as a guarantee that such results will, in fact, occur. In particular, Constellation's expectation that the transaction and its related financing will be slightly accretive to its earnings per share for the fiscal year ending February 28, 2002, is based upon the Blackstone business achieving certain sales projections, meeting certain cost targets and PWP successfully integrating the acquired assets. Statements regarding the expected closing of the transaction are subject to the risk that the closing conditions will not be satisfied. There can be no assurance that any forward-looking statement in this press release will be realized or that actual results will not be significantly higher or lower than set forth in or implied by such forward-looking statement. For risk factors associated with Constellation and its business, please refer to the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

SOURCE Constellation Brands, Inc.

CONTACT: Mark Maring, Investor Relations, +1-716-218-2132, or Ginny Clark, +1-716-218-2167, both of Constellation Brands